Newcrest to Pay A$1.2 Million in Disclosure Breach Inquiry

Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s biggest gold producer, agreed to pay A$1.2 million ($1.1 million) in fines after admitting to disclosure breaches.

The final penalties will be determined by the Federal Court, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said today in a statement. The settlement doesn’t involve any action being taken by ASIC against employees, Melbourne-based Newcrest said today in a separate statement.

The regulator had alleged that Newcrest selectively disclosed information in analyst briefings ahead of an announcement in June last year. Australia requires companies to disclose all market-sensitive information to the Australian Stock Exchange.

“Companies should have regard to existing guidance in the market about how to conduct briefings to ensure confidential, market-sensitive information is not selectively disclosed,” ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said in the statement.

Newcrest slumped after flagging a writedown of as much as A$6 billion on June 7 last year. UBS AG, Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG were among banks that cut their target prices on Newcrest between June 4 and June 5, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Newcrest rose 1.8 percent to close at A$10.15 in Sydney trading, taking its advance for the year to 30 percent.

ASIC hasn’t alleged that Newcrest “knowingly or intentionally contravened its continuous disclosure obligations,” the company said.

Newcrest Regret

An internal review completed by Newcrest in September found no “smoking gun” evidence indicating any analysts had received selective briefings, according to Maurice Newman, a former chairman of the Australian Securities Exchange who led the study on its behalf. In response to Newman’s report, Newcrest pledged to restrict its dealings with investors and analysts.

“Newcrest takes its disclosure obligations very seriously and sincerely regrets the contraventions,” Chairman Peter Hay said in the statement. “Newcrest has cooperated fully with ASIC in its investigation of these matters.”

Since 2005, about 20 companies in Australia have received fines for breaches of continuous disclosure rules, according to CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets.

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